HealthDay News — A novel antibody that targets claudin 18.2 is helping some patients with advanced gastric cancer live longer, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), held from June 3 to 7 in Chicago.

The phase II clinical trial, involving 161 patients, focused on the antibody IMAB362. The median survival of patients using the treatment plus standard chemotherapy was 13.2 months, compared with 8.4 months for those who received chemotherapy alone, the researchers reported.

The IMAB362 antibody employed in this new treatment targets the claudin 18.2 protein. The researchers found that study patients who had the highest levels of this protein in tumors prior to receiving the new treatment had an even longer median overall survival, at 16.7 months.

“Since claudin 18.2 is abundant in gastric tumors, we estimate that half of all patients with advanced gastric cancer may be candidates for this new treatment,” lead researcher Salah-Eddin Al-Batran, MD, of the Institute of Clinical Cancer Research at Nordwest Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany, said in an ASCO news release. In addition, “this unique target is not present in any healthy tissues except the lining of the stomach, thereby minimizing treatment side effects.”

The research was funded by Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of IMAB362.

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